Easter is next Sunday and according to the website AgHires Americans in the past have spent $5.3 billion on food to celebrate, including purchasing 180 million eggs for decorating or making deviled eggs. This year, to no one’s surprise, consumers will spend more for their Easter eggs compared to previous years. Brian Earnest of CoBank reports the USDA Midwest large table eggs price has risen roughly $0.25 per dozen through mid-March compared with the trough at the end of the last rally. Earnest projects prices could rally a $1.00 or more before Easter and top highs experienced in 2020 during the beginning of the COVID pandemic. In March 2020, egg prices surged to exceed $3.00 per dozen in just two weeks.
Earnest says several factors are contributing to the run up in egg prices. For one, the layer flock has shrunk from over 342 million hens in 2019 to 322 million hens at last count. Complications from the transition to cage-free production and flock depopulations due to avian influenza have contributed to the lower numbers. Also, higher feed, energy, and transportation costs and other supply chain backlogs are contributing to price increases. The supply pressures combined with the seasonal demand increase due to Easter are pushing prices higher.
AgHires also reports 700 million Peeps are typically purchased during Easter and over 90 million chocolate bunnies are produced. With the higher egg prices, children may wake up Easter morning to find the Easter Bunny has left a few more Peeps, bunnies, or grass in their Easter baskets. But, just a hunch, it’s likely prices are higher this year for these goodies as well.
Figure 3. Midwest Table Egg Prices